Another post from iFACE staff in Missouri:
Every Fall starting in September we start promoting our Operation Christmas Child Project at our weekly Bible discussions and our church, Global Life Church (for international students, scholars and their families). We suggest students can participate by donating items to be put into the shoe boxes, make a financial donation, pray, and/or attend our OCC packing party on a Sunday in early November from 4 to 6 pm.
We have a big plastic tub that students can put donated item in at Bible study and church each week. Our church purchases toothbrushes, soap dishes, school supplies , wash cloths and we encourage students to donate the WOW gift items like dolls, toys, clothes, stuffed animals, etc.
Then we gather together on a Sunday afternoon from 4 to 6 pm for our packing party. At our packing party we have pizza and soft drinks while we watch an evangelistic video (from the Billy Graham folks) for about 20 minutes, then we divide up by tables according to gender and three age groups to pack Operation Christmas Child Shoe Boxes. Then there is about 30 minutes of frenzied activity as everyone packs shoe boxes with WOW gifts, a school supply kit, a hygiene kit, and some clothing items.
In 30 minutes we are done with all our boxes. This year we packed 214 shoe boxes. Then we gather together in a circle and pray over all our boxes that they will be a blessing to the child that receives it. Then we take pictures of participates standing in front of our wall of shoe boxes.
This project allows us to start talking about Christmas in September, is a good witness of caring for others, is global in scope, and through the OCC videos which we show every two weeks gets people excited about giving. We provide a variety of ways for people to participate and internationals learn about giving in a way that is meaningful to them.
We also collect financial donations to help pay for the shipping of the boxes ($9. each). This year we sent a gift of $1,926. to Samaritan’s Purse to help pay for the shipping of our boxes. In previous years we have done between 120 and 276 Operation Christmas Child Shoe Boxes. For more information check it out at www.samaritanspurse.org
Craig & Shirley Colbert
University of Missouri-Columbia